Mersin Province

Mersin Province
Mersin Province
Mersin ili
—  Province of Turkey  —
Location of Mersin Province in Turkey
Country Turkey
Region Mediterranean
Capital Mersin
 - Total 15,853 km2 (6,120.9 sq mi)
Population (2010-12-31)[1]
 - Total 1,647,899
 - Density 103.9/km2 (269.2/sq mi)
Area code(s) 0324
Vehicle registration 33

The Mersin Province (Turkish: Mersin ili ) is a province in southern Turkey, on the Mediterranean coast between Antalya and Adana. The provincial capital is the city of Mersin and the other major town is Tarsus, birthplace of St Paul. The province is part of Çukurova, a geographical, economical and cultural region, that covers the provinces of Mersin, Adana, Osmaniye and Hatay.

The former name of the province was İçel. In 2002, the province's name was changed to Mersin to match the provincial capital's name, as is the case for all Turkish provinces except three. The province retained the license plate number of 33, İçel having been the 33rd in the alphabetical order of Turkish province names, when there were only 67 provinces in Turkey.




87% of the land area is mountain, leading up to the rocky heights of the central Taurus Mountains, the highest peak is Medetsiz (3,584 m) in the Bolkar range, and there are a number of important passes over to central Anatolia. There are many high meadows and small plains between 700 and 1500m.

The coastal strip has many large areas of flatland, formed from soil brought down by rivers and streams running off the mountains. This is fertile land, the largest area being the plain of Tarsus. The largest rivers are the Göksu and the Berdan (aka Tarsus, Cydnus of antiquity), but there are many small streams running into lakes, reservoirs or the Mediterranean sea. Mersin has 321 km of coastline, much of it sandy beach. The climate is typical of the Mediterranean; very hot and very humid in summer, warm and wet in winter; the winter rains can be very heavy and flooding is a problem in many areas, but it never snows on the coast, although there is snow in the high mountain areas.

The city of Mersin is one of Turkey's busiest: due to the economic activity in this part of Turkey generated by the GAP Project Mersin is Turkey's biggest Mediterranean port, and now has an oil refinery and a free trade zone too; there are a number of factories along the road between Mersin and Adana, manufacturing glass, detergents, fertilisers and many more. With all this activity a modern city has grown with a university and other major amenities.

About 50% of the population of the province is younger than 24 years of age. 68% were born in Mersin. The literacy rate is 89%. About 43% of the male population and about 27% of the female population graduated from middle school. Infant mortality is 0.48%. Urban population growth rate is 2.42%. Population density is 117.


Mersin does not have the huge volume of tourists enjoyed by neighbouring Antalya or the Aegean coast, but Turkish people do come to this coast, especially now that the hotels have air-conditioning, and perhaps more to the mountain country behind where there are healing mineral water springs. In summer the hills are a popular retreat from the high humidity and extreme heat on the coast. West of Mersin includes bays, and little islands. Yacht touring is a tourism income in these areas.


See Mersin for a detailed history of the city.

In antiquity this coast was part of Cilicia, named for a Phoenician or Assyrian prince that had settled here. Trade from Syria and Mesopotamia over the mountains to central Anatolia passed through here, through the Cilician Gates. The geographer Strabo, described the region as being divided into "Rugged Cilicia" (Cilicia Trachea) and "Flat Cilicia" (Cilicia Pedias). The capital of both sections of Cilicia was Tarsus and Mersin was its seaport.


Mersin province is divided into thirteen districts four of which are actually included within the municipality of Mersin city (shown in boldface letters).

Population of the province

(In the table below, the four intracity municipalities are merged within Mersin proper.)

Name of the district Population (city) Population (total, including rural area)
Mersin 842 230 888 803
Anamur 34 227 62 702
Aydıncık 8 004 11 651
Bozyazı 15 615 26 295
Çamlıyayla 2 861 9 847
Erdemli 45 241 125 391
Gülnar 8 357 19 141
Mut 28 966 63 673
Silifke 51 684 113 404
Tarsus 233 436 308 681

Places of interest

  • The city of Tarsus, birthplace of St Paul, whose house and well are sites of Christian pilgrimage.
  • Silifke - ancient Seleucia Pieria, buildings include the church of Aya Tekla, the first female saint.
  • The ancient Roman town of Soloi-Pompeiopolis, now within the city. About Mersin
  • Another ancient city of Elaiussa Sebaste, 55 km from the city of Mersin.
  • Castles including Kızkalesi, Namrun.

Towns and other geographic features


  • Arslanköy
  • Ayvagediği
  • Büyükeceli
  • Çarıklar
  • Çeşmeli
  • Göksu
  • Gözne
  • Gülek
  • Huzurkent[2]
  • Kaledran[3]
  • Kargıpınarı
  • Kazanlı[2]
  • Kızkalesi
  • Kocahasanlı
  • Köseçobanlı
  • Kuskan
  • Limonlu
  • Narlıkuyu
  • Ören
  • Sebil
  • Soğucak[2]
  • Taşucu
  • Tekeli
  • Tekmen
  • Uzuncaburç
  • Yenice
  • Yeşilovacık
  • Yeşiltepe
  • Zeyne

Archaeological wealth


See also

  • List of populated places in Mersin Province ‎
  • Transport in Mersin Province


  1. ^ Turkish Statistical Institute, MS Excel document – Population of province/district centers and towns/villages and population growth rate by provinces
  2. ^ a b c Incorporated within Greater Mersin
  3. ^ Actually a village

External links

Coordinates: 36°40′43″N 33°48′19″E / 36.67861°N 33.80528°E / 36.67861; 33.80528

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